By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer
A grant from the New Mexico Literacy Coalition is funding a new organization in Clovis — the Curry County Literacy Coalition.
The coalition, which received the grant last week, will be headed by Clovis resident Terri Tafoya who has volunteered with the adult literacy program at Clovis Community College.
Tafoya, a pre-K teacher in Bovina, plans to offer courses to promote adult literacy in subjects that include English as a second language (ESL), citizenship, reading, lifestyles and family literacy.
“The program really is including individuals 17 and over who have a reading level of third grade or below,” Tafoya said.
A 1990s study found that 19 percent of Curry County adults read at a Level 1 reading level, according to National Institute For Literacy Web site.
Level 1 readers can perform small tasks that require literacy, but cannot perform other tasks necessary for operating in society, according to the NIFL. Level 1 readers can identify a country in a short article, but cannot locate an intersection on a street map.
“Nearly half (43 percent) of all adults in Level 1 live in poverty,” the Web site states.
“When it comes right down to it (this program) is strengthening our community by giving skills,” Tafoya said.
Family literacy is one program Tafoya plans on implementing here that she has already been teaching to families of her students in Bovina.
Family literacy teaches parents how to work with their children by putting books and reading into their house, Tafoya said.
“To really service the child in the classroom, we have to encompass the entire family unit,” Tafoya said.
Clovis Community College is housing the coalition in the Center for Student Success during its beginning stages, but Tafoya said she hopes to place centers in neighborhoods throughout the community.
“Our goal is for this to be a community-supported program,” she said. “Everyone can play a part in the program.”
Since the group just received the grant right, it’s in its formative stages, Tafoya said.
“We’re in the process of recruiting volunteers for tutoring and recruiting students, as well,” she said.
Tofoya said she feels like she is where she should be working with this program.
“ This is so important to me,” she said.